Sick Days and Smiles

Harold (top) and Hermann (lower level)

Harold loves his brother Hermann and likes to be as close to him as possible. Here’s a double decker of dachshunds. Next to them on the couch and out of the picture is me, recuperating from some kind of nasty bug I picked up over the weekend. I’m definitely not ready for the camera. I have been sick for five days, but my husband and the pups are keeping me company. The doctors don’t know what I have, but I have a list of symptoms as long as my arm. They tested me for Covid even though I had the vaccine. They also tested for flu and strep. All negative. So they sent me home with some antibiotics, some steroids, and a shrug. I’ll probably never know what it is, but it’s the second sickest I’ve ever been. I was too sick to read for a couple of days. Now I have even more reading to catch up on. But at least I have some friendly and furry company.

#Blog Tour and #Book Review: The Inn At Tansy Falls

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Dearest Nell, if you’re reading this letter, I’m already gone. You’re my best friend in the world, and as my last request I’m asking you to lay me to rest hundreds of miles away, in my crazy gorgeous, totally one-of-a-kind hometown of Tansy Falls. I know you’re a born-and-bred city girl, but hear me out. After first losing Adrian, and then me… I know your heart is hurting, Nell. I think you’ll find that you need Tansy Falls as much as I do.

So, I’ve got it all planned out. For two weeks, you’ll be staying at the sweet, local inn and every day you’ll be trying something new. And if you follow my instructions to the letter, you may discover there’s more to my story than you think. A surprise something… or someone at the end of it? Only you can find out!

Some last advice before you set off, Nell. Don’t forget your sturdy boots and make sure to give Boomer, the inn’s resident dog, a belly rub from me. Stay well away from former quarterback Brody Knott (boy, do I have some stories about him!). And finally, let the future bring what it brings. While Tansy Falls may look small, I know better than anyone that new beginnings can be found in all kinds of places. That little Vermont town you’d never heard of? Well, it might suddenly begin to feel just like coming home…

If you love feel-good love stories by ReaAnne Thayne, Debbie Macomber and Robyn Carr, you’ll adore this gorgeous, heart-warming novel about starting over.

BOOK REVIEW

     Nell's life is filled with grief and turmoil.  A long-term relationship is over and her best friend Megan has just passed away due to cancer.  Megan leaves Nell a letter requesting that Nell scatter her ashes in the town of Tansy Falls, Vermont, where she spent time as a child.  Nell, a London accountant, travels to Tansy Falls to fulfill Meg's wishes.  Meg's request is accompanied by a two-week itinerary of things she wants Nell to do while she is here.  Some tasks are more difficult than others, but Nell begins a journey that will introduce her to new people and new experiences.

    This is a beautiful book about love,  friendship,  and starting over.  Megan's letter and the tasks she has prepared for Nell take her on a journey in the midst of her grief.  Even as Meg's life is ending, she sends her beloved friend on an adventure to help her learn to live again.   This is a heartwarming book that I would recommend to all.

     The Inn At Tansy Falls is only 99 cents on Kindle right now at the link below!  That's a great buy.

     I received a free copy of this Book from Bookouture via Netgalley.  My review is voluntary.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cate Woods made the most of her university degree in Anglo-Saxon Literature by embarking on a career making tea on programmes including The Big Breakfast, Who Wants to be a Millionaire and French & Saunders. After narrowly missing out on the chance to become a Channel 5 weather girl, she moved into the world of magazine journalism, then ghostwriting and now writes novels under her own name. She has written two best-selling romantic comedies – Just Haven’t Met You Yet and More Than a Feeling – and a festive novel, The Christmas Guest, under the name Daisy Bell. Cate lives in London with her husband and two children.

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Book Review: Finding Home

Mim is homeless and living in her car until she meets Bill and Bea and does them a favor that changes her life. Finding herself welcomed into their large, well-to-do family, Mim is overwhelmed by their generosity. Can she forget her past, allow herself some happiness, and start a new life?

This is a fun, easy romance with the theme of reaching out to those who need a helping hand. I was happy to meet the well written characters, and the sandy beaches of Devon (Southwest England) make for a captivating setting. This is straightforward book with a simple message. There is no complicated plot and and no mystery to figure out, but in this case that is not a bad thing. This is a very positive book about helping others, receiving help, and giving back. 

I would recommend this book to all, because helping others is a universal message.

I received a free copy of this book from Harper Collins UK (One More Chapter) via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate Field

Kate Field lives in Lancashire, England, with her husband, daughter and cat. Her debut novel, The Magic of Ramblings, won the Romantic Novelists’ Association Joan Hessayon Award for new writers.

Kate can be contacted on Twitter @katehaswords or through her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/KateFieldAuthor/.

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AMAZON

Once Upon a Rhyme

Dylan or “Oskie” has experienced great loss even prior to the recent passing of his father, Hollis, who was also his long-time coach.  This loss has made him hesitate to move forward, especially in love.  While cleaning out his father’s belongings, Oskie finds a book of poems written by his father.  As he begins to read them, memories come flooding back and he truly sees the importance of his father’s words.   Linda, his best friend’s Mom, also figures in the story and gives him a great example to follow. As a remarkable week passes and Dylan studies his father’s words, he learns three lessons that help him make sense of it all.

This is a heart-touching story about memories shared, lives lost, and the love that remains afterwards. It reminds us that memories can be so good that they hurt, and that it’s better to feel the hurt than shut out the memories.  I really connected with the character Linda, who lost her son to suicide.   She makes me think of a woman I personally know who lost her entire family, including her children, and yet she just radiates love, because she knows the secret.  Love is it.  It’s the only thing we take with us and the only thing that keeps growing after we die.

There are also two great adoptions in this story. Dylan’s son “Turbo” has already been adopted, and another adoption story begins to unfold. Coaching and sports figure heavily in this story as well. Dylan has followed in his father’s footsteps as a coach.

My only criticism is, in my opinion, there were too many nicknames for a fairly short story and I wasn’t fond of some of the nicknames.  I would advise readers to check the glossary of nicknames in the front of the book in order to avoid confusion.  However, that being said, this is a heartfelt story of love, loss, and lessons learned.   I would recommend it to all.  You can buy this story on Amazon for only 99 cents.  

I received a free gift copy from the author.  My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.  

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

CHECK OUT THE AVERAGE MAN’S ADVENTURE PODCAST BY THE AUTHOR TONY SARAGAS

MY AMAZON REVIEW (HELPFUL VOTES APPRECIATED)

The Choice I Made

REVIEW–BONNIE READS AND WRITES

Julie’s mother has had a stroke, and for weeks her father has said she is doing fine, but when Julie arrives for a weekend at their family’s Wisconsin resort, Wood Violet, she finds that her mother is not doing well and is not mobile. Despite the objections of her husband Tristan, Julie decides to stay and help out with her mother and the business for the summer. When she meets teenage Margaret, who is staying in an abandoned cabin and searching for her biological mother, Julie develops a connection with her. She also reconnects with her old friends, including her ex-boyfriend Chase. But secrets and lies come to the surface. Will it break them all apart?

This is was nice family story about supporting each other in the hard times and what happens when you don’t. Margaret’s search for her mother with Julie’s help is interesting. Julie’s connection to the woods, the cabins, and the area are heartfelt and believable, as is her strong desire to protect her family. However, the character Tristan is quite over the top. There were surprises that were not all that hard to figure out, but all in all this was an enjoyable family story with a touch of mystery and romance. Three and a half stars, rounded up to four.

I received a free copy of this book from Bookouture via Netgalley. My review is voluntary.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cynthia Ellingsen

Cynthia Ellingsen is an Amazon Charts bestselling author of contemporary women’s fiction. Her books feature heartwarming characters and strong family connections, often with a touch of mystery. The Starlight Cove series, her best-known work, is available on audio and has been translated into several languages.

Cynthia began her writing career as a screenwriter in Los Angeles and now lives in Kentucky with her family.

https://www.cynthiaellingsen.com/

https://www.facebook.com/cynthiaellingsen

https://twitter.com/CynEllingsen

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Buy Links:Amazon: https://bit.ly/2PwDulR

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Father and Sun

*Promo only–Not A Review

This is a book promo only. I haven’t read it, but check out the book trailer! It looks good. Links to buy are below.

Father&Sun

Welcome to the blog tour for Father & Sun by Ross Victory! Read on for more details! FrontFather & Sun Publication Date: December 20th, 2020 Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Some say family is everything. Some say family are just people we’re assigned to at birth.

Trey Amana, a forty-something, hardworking father of two, discovered his dad’s death five years ago on the day after Christmas. Although Trey has grieved and prioritized his health, holiday music and decorations trigger painful memories. To take the final step toward healing the loss while saving extra cash for his holiday-obsessed kids, Trey decides to close his late father’s storage unit once and for all.

Trey discovers a journal written during his father’s college years. His dad, Art, reveals an outrageous family secret driving Trey into a wormhole of suspicions. With family members en-route to Trey’s home, Trey is burdened by the need for answers while somehow producing a hospitable Christmas.

Father & Sun explores how secrets and well-meaning motivations from the past can have a counteractive generational impact.

Father & Sun contemplates life in the shadows or life standing on the Sun (owning one’s truth), speaking to the passing of the torch from father to son, what it means to be honorable, and the spiritual, emotional, and mental effect on heirs.

​Core topics: Family, Generational Curses

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Available on Amazon! About the Author Ross Victory Smile Ross Victory is a singer/songwriter turned author from Southern California. After the back to back loss of his father and brother, Ross dove into self-discovery and healing practices, which reignited his passion for writing and music production. Ross uses his unique voice and social intersections to inspire and entertain listeners and readers through Urban Adult Contemporary music, and literature, with a focus on non-fiction and thematic novelettes and short stories.

Ross Victory | Instagram | Goodreads

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The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop

The Sequel to Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

Since I reviewed this book for Historical Novels Review, I could not post the review until now. It was actually published last year. This is a treat for Fannie Flagg fans who always wondered what happened to the characters from Whistle Stop!

REVIEW

The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop is the sequel to Fannie Flagg’s novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. It is a delightful novel that jumps back and forth in different time periods between the 1930s and present day, and tells us the further adventures of Buddy Threadgoode Jr. and others. This book is not a standalone. Readers will greatly benefit from reading the first book, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.

This was a joy to read. It takes us back to the 1930s when Ruth Jamison and Idgie Threadgoode were running their cafe in Whistle Stop, Alabama. It shows the present day where Bud Threadgoode is an old man, and his daughter Ruthie has grown children. And it tells us tales of a younger Bud in different periods of his life. All the popular characters from the first book make an appearance. I especially enjoyed the role of Evelyn Couch in this story. As in the first book, news reports from Dot Weems pop up in between chapters, from all different time periods. It is a story of family, friends, love, and loss, and the weaving together of the time periods shows how friends and family never really leave us.

I truly feel that Fannie Flagg wrote this book for her fans, those of us who have read all of her books, as a way of tying everything together. She catches us up on all the popular characters from Fried Green Tomatoes, and I may have shrieked in delight when a character from Flagg’s other best selling series, the Elmwood Springs books, shows up in Whistle Stop!

Every little nugget and every piece of news about a beloved character felt like a gift from Fannie Flagg to her readers.

I received a free copy of this book from Random House via Historical Novels Review Magazine. My opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Fannie Flagg

Fannie Flagg’s career started in the fifth grade when she wrote, directed, and starred in her first play, titled The Whoopee Girls, and she has not stopped since. At age nineteen she began writing and producing television specials, and later wrote for and appeared on Candid Camera. She then went on to distinguish herself as an actress and a writer in television, films, and the theater. She is the bestselling author of Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man; Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe; Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!; Standing in the Rainbow; A Redbird Christmas; Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven; I Still Dream About You; The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion; and The Whole Town’s Talking. Flagg’s script for the movie Fried Green Tomatoes was nominated for an Academy Award and the Writers Guild of America Award and won the highly regarded Scripter Award for best screenplay of the year. Fannie Flagg is the winner of the Harper Lee Prize. She lives happily in California and Alabama.

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FANNIE FLAGG’S FACEBOOK PAGE

Telling Sonny

Faby Gauthier lives in a small town in Vermont in the 1920’s. She is bored with small town living and fascinated by Vaudeville and the showbiz life. When she meets Slim White, a dancer in a traveling Vaudeville show, she quickly gets pregnant and caught up in a marriage that happens before she knows it. We follow Faby on the Vaudeville circuit, travel with her on uncomfortable train trips, and stay with her in cheap hotels as we learn about the less glamorous side of showbiz. 

This is a beautifully written novel by Elizabeth Gaffreau that starts in small-town Vermont and takes us all over the Vaudeville circuit in the Eastern United States in the 1920’s. We learn a lot about Vaudeville life, sacrifice, and the loss of innocence. We are shown through Faby’s sister the life she could have had. We are also reminded of the priceless gift of family and the care of those who love us.

Gaffreau has an amazing ability to show us the reality of life behind the facade. For example, her descriptions of 1920’s telephone operators: “…where, inside, pale young women plugged and unplugged the telephone conversations of the village with bony fingers while they waited for someone to marry them.”

I would recommend this well-crafted novel to everyone who enjoys historical novels or anyone who wants to read a moving family story.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elizabeth Gauffreau holds a BA in English/Writing from Old Dominion University and an MA in English/Fiction Writing from the University of New Hampshire. Her fiction publications include short stories in Adelaide Literary Magazine, The Long Story, Soundings East, Ad Hoc Monadnock, Rio Grande Review, Blueline, Slow Trains, Hospital Drive, and Serving House Journal, among others. Her poetry has appeared in The Writing On The Wall, The Larcom Review, and Natural Bridge.

Liz grew up a child of the 1960s in northern New England before spending twenty years in the South as a Navy wife. After working for Granite State College in Concord, New Hampshire for eighteen years, she recently accepted a faculty position as Assistant Dean of Curriculum and Assessment at Champlain College Online in Burlington, Vermont. In addition to academic advising, teaching, and higher education administration, her professional background includes assessment of prior experiential learning for college credit.

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VISIT ELIZABETH GAFFREAU’S WEBSITE

MY REVIEW ON AMAZON (HELPFUL VOTES APPRECIATED IF YOU ARE SO INCLINED)

MY REVIEW ON GOODREADS

The Bird That Sang in Color

The Bird that Sang in Color is the saga of a family dealing with death, conflict, grief, alcoholism, and depression. Donna’s father is an alcoholic and she carries that into her married life to Frank, who has a problem with alcohol as well. Donna is devoted to her children and her brother Vince, a talented musician and artist. Donna has long encouraged Vince to get a “real” job, a house, and the other trappings of success, but Vince continues to go his own way. After Vince’s death, Donna finds a picture book in which Vince has drawn different scenes from his life. For Donna, this shows the truth about Vince’s life, and also about hers.

Though the beginning started out a little slowly for me, this is a fascinating story that asks tough questions. What is success really about? Who is really dead and who is really alive? What is real happiness? Do material things make you happy, and are they fitting substitutes for joy and passion? What makes you truly happy? Most importantly, this book asks the reader to look inside themselves to see their own life pictures, assess their lives, and decide what is important and what is not. And for that, it gets five stars.

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via R&R Book Tours. My review is voluntary.

Link to Buy The Bird That Sang in Color:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Grace Mattioli is the author of two novels–Olive Branches Don’t Grow On Trees and Discovery of an Eagle, and a book of short stories, The Brightness Index. Her forthcoming novel, The Bird that Sang in Color, will be released January 17, 2021.

Her fiction is filled with unforgettable characters, artful prose, humor, and insight about what it takes to be truly happy.  She strongly believes that if people were happier, the world would be a better place.

She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and her cats. She worked as a librarian for over twenty years and has had various other job titles, including jewelry designer, food cart owner, shopkeeper, book seller, substitute teacher, art school model, natural grocery store clerk, short order cook, food server, street vendor, barista, and a giant Twinkie! 

She has been writing creatively since she was a child and has participated in various writing workshops and classes. Her favorite book is Alice in Wonderland. Her favorite author is Flannery O’Connor. Her favorite line of literature comes from James Joyce’s novella, The Dead:  “Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.”

Grace Mattioli’s Website

Link to My Review on Goodreads

Neighbors

To be Released January 5, 2021

This is a great one from Danielle Steel. Meredith White, an iconic actress, has retreated from the world after her husband’s betrayal and her son’s death. She is almost completely cut off and relies on her live-in housekeepers for companionship. Then a devastating earthquake occurs and Meredith finds herself rushing out to help her neighbors. 

I really liked this one from Danielle Steel. An icon herself, she can write about a star who has that kind of fame with great understanding. She also tackles the tough subject of domestic violence in a believable way. I very much enjoyed and appreciated the theme of a recluse slowly opening up again through the act of helping others. 

There are several different storylines in this book as we see into the lives of Meredith’s neighbors. We also see into the thoughts, daily lives, and motivations of her housekeepers, and we see what you can miss if you withdraw from the world.

If you want to read a romance that tackles the issues of domestic violence, self isolation, and loss, you should check this one out. Highly recommend.

I received a free copy of this book from Random House via Netgalley. My review is voluntary.

Buy the book on Amazon

Link to Danielle Steel’s website

Link to my Goodreads review